The idea of applying a smart sensing device to green fields arose when the team leader, Robertus Nugroho, saw photos of starving people on his friends’ Facebook pages.
“My friends shared photos and messages on their Facebooks about people in third world countries still suffering from hunger, or lacking food nutrition. I thought ‘what if it were possible to grow any kind of seeds and optimize their growth there? Why can’t farmers optimize their harvesting time, or get good quality from their yield? What kind of complex mechanisms occur below and above the soil surface that sustain a healthy soil ecosystem?’ While I was thinking about this, I received information about Helsinki Challenge and started discussing this issue with my team members. As a team, we would love to help people understand what nature wants, and how people could get beneficial outcomes from it without causing negative effects on it. We are very optimistic that we can get good results from our idea. In addition, we would like to build a smart sensing device through this challenge, which monitors soil properties and balance the soil ecosystem, thereby optimising plant growth in a specific soil condition.
If we succeed in designing this smart device through our research project, anyone, but farmers in particular, could use this device to control their soil characteristics. They could make sure that the added components sufficiently support their lands and lessen the excessive use of toxic chemicals. Pests are still a big problem in green fields. We would also like to try the potential use of our device for distracting them. It really constitutes a big challenge.
In our team, we have various multidisciplinary expertise in physical chemistry, electrical engineering, computer science and material science.
At the moment, we are still focusing on the literature review and are in ongoing discussions with several experts, such as geologists and geophysicists.
Helsinki Challenge is not only a big opportunity for us to further explore our idea, but also to find links to companies that might be interested in scientific collaborations and to establish other good networks.”
1. Why can your team make the world a better and more sustainable place?
We all come from different countries with different backgrounds, but share the same anxiety about our planet’s environment or ecosystem. We all work as scientists, and as scientists we are always challenged to understand changes in our surroundings, like climate change for instance. Through our scientific concept, we are keen to make our world better than before. We really hope that we can apply our solution in third world countries. If we succeed, we would be glad to demonstrate our smart device and educate people through tutorials, trainings and workshops.”
2. If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Elon Musk. He’s a very inspiring person and has a vision to make the world and humanity better.
3. What’s the best thing that has come out of science and research so far?
Potential applications. As scientists, we are sometimes challenged to do something that can be utilized to help humanity without having a destructive impact on nature.
Robertus Nugroho, Ph.D, Forest Products Technology Department, Aalto University
Michal Matusewicz, M.Eng, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland
Pratama Istiadi, B.Sc, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Aalto University
Sezin Yaman, M.Eng, Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki